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In the News: Virtual Trade Shows Thrive, Industry Still Prefers Face-to-Face

Rise in Virtual Trade Shows Predicted: A lengthy feature in the October issue of Wired highlights the many ways people and businesses are using technology to get satisfactory results with minimal budgets. One trend on the rise is virtual trade shows, where vendors send avatars into cyberspace to meet with potential clients and customers. It's not a new concept, but analysts expect 5,000 online expos in 2010, a 500 percent increase from 2009. [Wired]

Planners Still Favor Person-to-Person: Virtual trade shows, meetings, and conferences may be on the rise, but they are facing a bit of resistance from industry professionals. At the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International's recent Affordable Meetings National and Event Technology Expo, attendees in a poll said they used technology for marketing efforts and presentations but still avoided virtual meetings. Among the key conference elements they thought got lost in translation were spontaneous networking, identifying attendees, and a free and open dialogue between all parties. Many also noted that the available technologies still weren't up to snuff to hold a seamless virtual event. [Reuters]

Oprah Event Brings Chicago to Standstill: As we noted yesterday, Oprah Winfrey took over Chicago's Michigan Avenue for a taping of her show's 24th anniversary party. The event was free to the public—and included performances by the Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Hudson, James Taylor, and magician Criss Angel—but demanded attendees deal with lines, security, and a lot of waiting around. One Chicago Tribune reporter tweeted the whole ordeal, dubbing it “Opracolypse,” and noted that while the production of the event tried a few peoples' nerves, the atmosphere remained one of celebration. [BizBash, Twitter@MoRyan]

Lady Gaga in High Demand: There's an ebb and flow to celebrity and, consequently, their demand at events. After several years of seeing Kanye West as the most coveted guest performer at parties, the new season might belong to Lady Gaga. The pop star will be making the rounds in New York, reportedly performing at two Fashion Week parties—for Givenchy and Marc Jacobs—in addition to her obligation at the MTV VMAs on Sunday and possibly even a few after-parties. [WWD]


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